Sean Didier crafts his own Spoonville character ‘Ryan’ with his dad JD Stefaniak using a kit made by Amanda Hogan in association with Benchspace Cork and the DCCI-Healthy Ireland ‘Keep Well’ campaign. Picture - Clare Keogh

‘Spoonville’ project dishes out welcome relief for stir-crazy kids and parents during lockdown

Benchspace Cork initiative among inspirational projects awarded funding as part of ‘Keep Well’ campaign by Design & Crafts Council Ireland and Healthy Ireland

An innovative project in Cork that inspires kids to get creative as the country copes with lockdown has been awarded funding as part of the national ‘Keep Well’ campaign.

Benchspace Cork is one of nine community and craft ventures across the country that have being chosen as part a Sláintecare-funded collaboration between the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) and Healthy Ireland.

Their project, Spoonville, provides a virtual workshop and special Crafts Kits for children to inspire creativity in our next generation of makers. Spoonville encourages children and teenagers to use their imagination while the country remains in lockdown, stimulating creativity and an interest in design.

The online workshops are led by Amanda Wood of Sew Happy Creative. Amanda and the Benchspace team have created special Spoonville Craft Kits that contain everything a child needs to create their very own ‘Spoony’ character. As part of the project, the kits are being delivered to direct provision and emergency accommodation centres and charities that work with children in Cork city.

Benchspace Director David Scannell said the Spoonville project is “a great way to reach out to children and inspire creativity” in Cork and across the country.

Sean Didier crafts his own Spoonville character ‘Ryan’ with his dad JD Stefaniak using a kit made by Amanda Hogan in association with Benchspace Cork and the DCCI-Healthy Ireland ‘Keep Well’ campaign. Picture – Clare Keogh

David Scannell says of the project: “We want to inspire creativity in children. Kids and teens are the next generation of makers and we are as interested in connecting with them as we are with adult makers. We’re conscious that it’s difficult at the moment for parents to keep children entertained in lockdown so we really wanted to create something special that would help keep their minds active and engaged.”

Benchspace is a creative hub in Cork city. Established to provide affordable access to workbenches and professional standard machinery to hobbyists, learners, makers and designers, Benchspace Cork is the first co-making space of its kind in Ireland.

The first Spoonville was started in Winnersh, Berkshire, England by Karen Vass who came up with the idea of making Spoony characters from wooden spoons as a way of cheering up her local community during the first lockdown. Inspired by the idea, Spoonvilles have developed in countries across the world.

David Scannell said organisations and charities working with children can apply to have their own Spoonville Craft Kits sent out to them by logging on to www.benchspacecork.ie before next Monday, March 15. The kits will be distributed from March 20, with a link to a social blog post that will show them how to create their very own Spoony characters. Children and parents who want to assemble their own Spoonville kits at home can get a list of the materials on www.benchspacecork.ie.

Design & Crafts Council CEO Rosemary Steen said: “This project by Benchspace Cork is a fantastic initiative that will inspire future generations of makers at a time when the idea of ‘switching off and getting creative’ has never been so important. The Spoonville classes will help stimulate creativity and give children, teenagers and their parents something positive to focus their minds on as we look forward to emerging from the public health emergency.” 

Minister of State for the Department of Health, with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan added: “I would like to commend Benchspace Cork for devising this wonderful project that brings joy, fosters creativity and helps to revive community spirit. There is growing evidence that creative activities can help lift our mood and have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

“During these times, it is vital that we do everything we can to look after our wellbeing. All of these projects which have been rewarded with Slaintecare funding offer people hugely positive engagement and help towards keeping well, in line with the aims of Healthy Ireland’s Keep Well campaign.”

For more information or to apply for a Spoonville Craft Kit, visit: www.benchspacecork.ie

To see how Spoonville projects across the world are progressing, visit: www.spoonvilleinternational.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.